Guidance for M.Eng. students

This page has been compiled to distill the information relevant to M.Eng. students. As the situation continues to rapidly evolve, you are strongly encouraged to consistently check the University FAQ page: https://www.cornell.edu/coronavirus/faq.cfm

Campus Access:

Professional degree students should aim to have all campus-based needs completed by March 18.  Be aware that if you remain in the local area over the coming weeks you will not have access to most campus services.

On-campus graduate research, including Master of Engineering projects, will be suspended indefinitely starting Wednesday, March 18 at 5:00 pm.

Early Admits:

M.Eng. early admits are currently classified as undergraduates, but they have as much at stake with respect to their projects. In each M.Eng. program, we are proceeding with their status as M.Eng. students.

Financial Assistance:

Emergency Funding: Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GPSA) leaders have been working to get emergency funding to graduate and professional students who have unforeseen costs relating to the coronavirus restrictions on campus.  The Access Fund can pay for travel and other costs depending on student need.  
Please go to https://scl.cornell.edu/identity-resources/first-generation-low-income-support/access-fund and fill out the COVID-19 Access Fund Travel Form. 

Healthcare:

If a student is currently on the Student Health Plan it will continue to the end of the plan year which is July 31, 2020. They can use it anywhere, see links below. As of right now the campus health center, Cornell Health, will remain open.

Cornell Health remains open but is moving to telehealth for as many visits as possible.  In the interim CAPS has moved to primarily phone visits. The best thing to do is inform students to call or go online to schedule rather than walking in. Students may call Cornell Health at 607-255-5155.

Information for International Students:

(Taken from the FAQ page, Office of Global Learning)

I will graduate this semester, but Cornell has moved courses online due to COVID-19. Can I legally stay in the United States?

  • Yes. On March 9, 2020, the U.S. government issued guidance that recognized the need for flexibility around temporary arrangements for remote or online learning for international students. Provided that you continue to make normal progress in a full course of study (required by regulation), temporary arrangements for online or remote learning will not negatively impact your status.

I'm graduating this spring and I plan to apply for post-completion practical training (OPT). What should I do to maintain my eligibility for OPT?

  • If you are graduating this spring and planning to apply for OPT, we do not recommend that you depart the U.S. for the full remainder of the semester. In order to be eligible, you must be in the U.S. in F-1 status, with a valid I-94 document. Please contact an advisor in International Servicesif you have questions about your OPT application process and travel.

I've heard that if I'm outside the U.S. for more than five months, I need to apply for a new I-20 and F-1 visa stamp. Is this true?

  • The five-month rule only applies if you are outside of the U.S. and not a registered student for five months or more. We will not close your SEVIS record if you are enrolled as a full-time student online (spring 2020), and you intend to return after the crisis or in the fall. If you meet these conditions and have a valid I-20 and visa stamp, you will not need to apply for a new I-20 and visa.

I am an international student and have others questions about travel guidelines, maintaining my visa status, or moving to online instruction. Who can help?

  • The Office of Global Learning has created an FAQ to help address questions that our international students and scholars may have. 
  • The International Services team is ready to work with you during our regular hours. Effective March 18: Our immigration advisors will meet with you by appointment. The best way to reach us for most services is by email or phone. Read Get Advice for more information. Cornell Tech students should continue to work with Cornell Tech Student Services during office hours or by email.

Housing

If you are living on campus and are leaving Ithaca, you will receive a rebate on your housing and dining (if applicable).

  • Those on-campus residents who have requested to stay in their residence hall room will receive a response beginning today. Those who continue to live on campus after March 29 will not be eligible for a rebate.
  • Students living in off-campus (private) housing may stay in their apartments through the end of their lease periods, though all classes will move to virtual instruction for the rest of the semester. Those students are responsible for fulfilling the lease that they signed.

Transportation:

Please check out TCAT's website at https://www.tcatbus.com for the most up-to-date information.

Dining

Cornell Dining eateries will remain open through the end of the semester. Some service hours may change as we gauge demand, so look at Cornell Dining Now for the latest, up-to-date information on dining hours.

Travel:

  • With the exception of students traveling home for the duration of the semester, we strongly discourage any non-essential domestic travel, personal or Cornell-related, by faculty, staff and students.
  • Guidelines continue to evolve. While travel restrictions do not currently apply to domestic travel, several states and regions are experiencing increased cases of the virus. The CDC recommends that domestic travelers monitor their health and limit interactions with others for 14 days after returning from travel.

Support Services:

  • Students on the Ithaca campus may contact Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) for assistance with stress management and emotional support.
  • Chaplains and spiritual advisors in Cornell United Religious Work (CURW) are available to speak with students seeking spiritual support and care, in person, online, and/or by phone.
  • Confidential care and support for individuals affected by bias is also available, and any member of the community can report a bias incident or related concerns.
  • Student Disabilities Services (SDS) will continue to provide individual assessments for students who register with their office. If you have a disability that may impact your ability to participate in online learning, please contact your SDS counselor, who can assist you with evaluating accommodation needs. If you are not registered with SDS but have concerns about the possibility of needing a disability accommodation in order to be able to participate in online learning, please make an appointment with an SDS counselor. Go to https://sds.cornell.edu/about/meet-us.

Career Support:

Additional Links:

Departmental FAQs

Chemical Engineering – M.Eng.

  • On 03/13/2020 the Provost halted all teaching (to be resumed after Spring break online). In addition, the Provost has also ordered all departments to halt research activity across all labs on campus by March 18. After this point, Olin Hall will be closed to *all* students and many (if not all) campus resources will also be shut down. The situation is fluid, to stay abreast of the latest developments see: https://www.cornell.edu/coronavirus/.  
     
  • Should I stay or leave Ithaca? A couple of things to think about: 
    • if you leave Ithaca, please make a plan with your research advisor to continue your work remotely
    • the travel situation is fluid, there are travel bans in place and if you leave Ithaca, you may not be able to return
    • after Wednesday 3/18, many campus services will be shut down, and Olin Hall will be closed. 
       
  • International students in Cornell housing are not required to leave. For more information on housing, please see: https://www.cornell.edu/coronavirus/residential-life.cfm

Curricular impact:

  • Grading expectations: There is an evolving set of guidelines with respect to the curriculum, grading expectations etc. However, it is *likely* that all undergraduate (or joint undergraduate/graduate) courses will move to S/U for the Spring 2020 semester. We will adjust the M.Eng. graduation requirements to accommodate this change. In addition, for those taking seminar classes (e.g., the MIB or the Graduate Seminar) these will *likely* resume in an on-line format after Spring break, so you should be able to “attend” the seminars.  If this does not happen, we will adjust our grading policy for the seminar courses.  
  • After spring break: On April 6th (after spring break) classes will resume on-line. It is unclear if the Spring 2020 semester will end in May (as planned) or will be extended. These decisions are being made/debated now, so please stay tuned. 

You *must* ramp-down your on-campus M.Eng. project activity by Wednesday March 18th:

  • Please coordinate with your faculty advisor and research group to cease all non-critical research activities by Wednesday, 3/18. When preparing this ramp-down, practice safe behavior, including social distancing (stay a minimum of six feet away from other people).
  • Once on-site ramp-down is completed, make a plan with your advisor for the adaptation and continuation of your research project during the period of when research labs are closed. 
  • Do not share personal protective gear! Keep your distance, keep the lab CLEAN! Still use the buddy system when appropriate. Wash your hands!

How should group/research meetings be handled?

  • On-line via ZOOM et al. Discuss with your advisor. We encourage virtual meetings to be used whenever possible, including for one-on-one interactions. 

What if I leave the Ithaca area and return?

  • If you plan to leave the area for *any* reason, you are required to notify your advisor and create a plan. If you feel unsafe due to underlying health concerns, you should also create a plan with Disability Services as soon as possible. We strongly encourage you to NOT leave the local area (Ithaca). If you leave the local area, the CDC recommends that any domestic travelers monitor their health and limit interactions with others for 14 days after returning from travel (self-quarantine). 

Who can I contact if I feel unwell:

  • Healthcare: Cornell Health (CALL FIRST, 24/7): 607-255-5155. Even if you are off-campus, in your apartment – you should still contact Cornell Health. They are remaining open, and available to students, including MEng students who need to remain in the Ithaca area. The student health plan will be valid until July 31.
  • Mental Health Care: Students who need support can call Cornell Health (24/7) to speak with a licensed therapist: call 607-255-5155 and press 2. 
  • Confidential care and support for individuals affected by bias is also available and any member of the community can report a bias incident or related concerns.

International students:

  • International students are encouraged to remain up to date on policies released by the US government and Cornell. All questions about visas, OPT, and travel for international students should be directed to the International Services team: international@cornell.edu.
  • Lastly, above all else please be safe during this unprecedented time. Practice good “social distancing” discipline, wash your hands, don’t touch your face etc. If you feel sick, please contact Cornell Health immediately.

Engineering Management:

  • Information on healthcare for students who stay in Ithaca (Miranda Swanson):
  • Cornell Health remains open but is moving to telehealth for as many visits as possible.  In the interim CAPS has moved to primarily phone visits.  Once the telehealth standards are finalized, they will move as many CAPS and medical providers to telehealth, with appropriate capacity for in person care based on need.  Note that this information may change as the situation is fluid.  The best thing to do is inform students to call or go online to schedule rather than walking in. 

Cornell Resources and Updates:

FAQ:

Dedicated hotline:

  • A dedicated hotline has been created to connect members of our community with campus resources. It can be reached by calling 607-255-0101 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Travel:

  • With the exception of the university’s request that students return home during Spring Break, Cornell is strongly discouraging any non-essential domestic travel, personal or Cornell-related, by faculty, staff and students. Cornell international travel restrictions policies remain unchanged. The new travel ban from the U.S. Government is also restricting travel to and from Europe. Traveling, even regionally and out of Tompkins county, poses risks to the Cornell community

Residential Life

  • Cornell is asking students to leave campus now, or as soon as you ar able and to remain at their permanent home residence, completing their semesters remotely.
  • On-campus:
  • All Ithaca-based students who live on-campus will receive detailed instructions from the housing office regarding the move-out procedures as well as a process for submitting a petition to stay in on-campus housing for those who are unable to return to your permanent home residence at the beginning of spring break.
  • Cornell Dining is taking extra precautions to help safeguard the health of our students, staff, faculty, and other guests.
  • Campus services will be highly limited overall.
  • Students who receive exemptions and remain on campus will also complete their coursework virtually.

Off campus:

  • Students living in off-campus (private) housing may stay in their apartments through the end of their lease periods, though all classes will move to virtual instruction for the rest of the semester. Students are responsible for fulfilling the lease that they signed.
  • Many of you are unsure if you are staying in Ithaca at this time, we will continue to check in and request updates on your situation.
  • Interviews and Job Search:
  • We understand that this is a major concern and a top priority. Employers are also facing challenges due to COVID-19.
  • Employers should work with you and provide resources such as ZOOM for virtual meetings/interviews.
  • Every Cornell student has a ZOOM account. You can log in to access your account, share your meeting ID, schedule meetings, and explore tutorials.
  • https://cornell.zoom.us/

Visas and OPT:

  • If you can return home, the International Services team can work with you on visa and other immigration issues. Please contact them at international@cornell.edu or call International Services (607) 255-5243) during on-line drop-in hours, so the advisors they can talk about your specific needs.
  • If you are graduating this spring and planning to apply for OPT, we do not recommend that you depart the U.S. for the full remainder of the semester. If you are staying this summer, you should also remain in the U.S. In order to be eligible for OPT, you must be in the U.S. in F-1 status, with a valid I-94 document. Please contact an advisor in International Services if you have questions about your OPT application process and travel.

Commencement:

  • While Cornell sincerely hopes to hold our traditional Commencement Weekend, it is unknown at this time whether that will be possible. Members of the commencement office and colleagues from across the University will review all options and make a recommendation later this month.

Class Logistics:

  • We are in a transition period to ensure that remote access and instruction are functioning smoothly.
  • Each individual instructor will provide guidelines about their virtual class. Canvas, email, and ZOOM and other tools will support learning, discussion, homework, projects, and exams.

Additional Support Services:

Civil & Environmental Engineering:

Info on healthcare for students who stay in Ithaca (Miranda Swanson):

  • Cornell Health remains open but is moving to telehealth for as many visits as possible.  In the interim CAPS has moved to primarily phone visits.  Once the telehealth standards are finalized, they will move as many CAPS and medical providers to telehealth, with appropriate capacity for in person care based on need.  Note that this information may change as the situation is fluid.  The best thing to do is inform students to call or go online to schedule rather than walking in. 

Environmental Engineering: You will be contacted by your project advisors when the projects resume.